Danish WW2 Pilots

Flt Off. Elsie Helen Rude (née Toye)

(1909 - 1989)

Elsie Helen Rude (née Toye) volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1941. She was commissioned in 1942 and was promoted to Flight Officer before the end of the war. In 1943, she married Hans Gunnar Rude and, thus, became one of the Danish WAAFs.

Elsie Helen Rude (née Toye) was born on 3 September 1909 in West Ham, Essex,[1] the daughter of Edward Eugene Toy and Adelaide Toy (née Liebermann).[2] She was married to Hans Gunnar Rude in late 1943 and, thus, became a Danish citizen.[3] He considered joining the RAF during the war but does not seem to have done so in the end.[4]

Rude lived in London and worked as a shorthand typist secretary at the outbreak of war.[5]

Rude volunteered for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in the second half of 1941.[6] She was commissioned to be Assistant Section Officer (on probation) from 20 November 1941.[7] On 1 October 1942, she was promoted to the war substantive rank of Section Officer (on probation).[8] This was equivalent to the rank of Flying Officer in the RAF. There is no further information on the nature of her wartime service at this point.

Rude relinquished her commission on 1954 and retained the rank of Flight Officer.[9]


[1] Ancestry: Essex, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1918.

[2] Ancestry: London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932.

[3] England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005.

[4] DNA: 10194, Danske Råd i London, Rekrutteringskontoret.

[5] 1939 England and Wales Register.

[6] NA: AIR 78/159. The exact date is not known, but the service number is part of a batch allotted for WAAF enlistments in Gloucester in June 1941. The next batch was allotted in December 1941.

[7] London Gazette, issue 35373, p. 7001, 9 December 1941.

[8] London Gazette, issue 35773, p. 4818, 6 November 1942.

[9] London Gazette, issue 40349, p. 7072, 10 December 1954.